This past Thursday, Feb. 25, Undergraduate Government of Boston College members Afua Laast, LSOE ’16, and James Kale, LSOE ’16, held an open meeting with students and faculty in the Murray Room in the Yawkey Center. Any interested undergraduate could attend this meeting. They discussed the work UGBC has been doing this past year, including the proposal on racial issues that failed to pass administrative approval. They outlined their various attempts to bring about change and explained what they were trying to accomplish. This included an explanation of their current situation and how the administration has or has not responded to them. After the presentation, they held break-out sessions in which people could discuss and propose their ideas. There were also white boards set up for students to write down their proposals.
Many UGBC initiatives, such as the free speech proposal and initiative for racial diversity, have not been fulfilled this past year, as members have been unable to receive approval from the administration. This lack of success has perhaps led to some apathy and disengagement from the student body. The Town Hall meeting was a step away from that, an important moment of progress for the student government. The event was heavily attended, even to the point of needing to bring in extra tables and chairs. The audience, however, was largely composed of faculty. This is a positive development because it demonstrates faculty interest in UGBC affairs and support for its efforts, but more student interest in this event would show the degree of investment the student body has in the proposals. When students attend events like these they show support for UGBC and for the goals it has set out to accomplish.
Increased transparency for students outside of their circle has always been an important goal for UGBC. It is good to see that this is actually being done. This event opened up UGBC to the entire student body and explained exactly what has been done and what is being worked on, as well as why various proposals did not receive administrative approval. Hopefully this will continue in the future, with UGBC opening up its processes to interested students. By doing this, UGBC gains increased student support and increased power as a legislating organization.
Events like these are the outlets through which UGBC can have a strong voice at BC. The students that attended this event deserve commendation for showing an active engagement with how their student government operates. UGBC also deserves some commendation for organizing this event and pursuing issues that interest students. Now that this has been accomplished, UGBC should continue to take advantage of the exposure it has achieved and actively pursue the issues it is talking about. While generating interest and listening to students is a good step, it is equally, if not more, important to accomplish goals and produce results.
Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Staff